PAKISTAN: COUPLE GET DEATH SENTENCES FOR BLASPHEMY
|Shagufta Kausar (left) e Shafqat Emmanuel
April 5, 2014: A Pakistani Christian couple have been sentenced to death for blasphemy after allegedly sending a text message insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
The couple, named as Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar, were found guilty of sending the text message to the imam of their local mosque.
Allegations of blasphemy against Islam are taken very seriously in Pakistan.
Several recent cases have prompted international concern about the application of blasphemy laws.
The imam brought a complaint against the couple last July.
The couple's lawyer told the BBC he would appeal against the sentences and said the trial had not been conducted fairly.
Pakistan has a de facto moratorium on the death penalty so it is unlikely the couple will be executed.
They come from the town of Gojra in Punjab, previously the scene of communal violence.
In 2009 the rumoured desecration of a copy of the Koran led to a mob burning nearly 40 houses and a church in Gojra. At least eight members of Christian community died in the violence. (Sources: bbc.com, 05/04/2014)